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Evaluating NATO Intervention in Kosovo

Info: 5455 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: International RelationsPolitics



In the course of the NATO mission and its ramifications to people all over the world, a number of literature depicting this issue and concerns in international laws and national security have been widespread. This seminar paper endeavors to explore the details surrounding the legitimacy of NATO in the war indicated as the NATO mission in Kosovo by providing an analysis with regard to the facts surrounding NATO intervention and deliberating on the future implications that this mission hold in respect to international law.



When a terrorist captures people and turns them into hostages in their very homeland and the law enforcement or armed forces storm in violently causing havoc to the country, they will be placing the hostages more at risk. What is worse and more irresponsible would be to gain entry into another area of the vicinity since it is more secure and there is no terrorist present and begins to damage things valuable to the inhabitants. Such an approach would look as if preferably considered to position the hostages in the most likely risk. Nobody in his right mind concerned about the security of the hostages would conduct an operation this way, nevertheless it is precisely the approach followed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is also referred to as the North Atlantic Alliance. It is an international governmental organization military alliance founded on the North Atlantic Treat. The organization holds a system to maintain a collective security, of which affiliates had declared to be in agreement to mutual defense taking action against an attack from an outside force.

While NATO attempted to rapidly put in force peace efforts in Kosovo, the way that the organization performs its actions received unsympathetic criticisms. Merely for the reason that the administration by Milosevic was obviously in gross contravention of a number of international laws did not outright give good reason for any reaction devoid of rigorous examination and analysis.

This analysis endeavors to explore the details surrounding the legitimacy of NATO in the war indicated as the NATO mission in Kosovo by responding to the research question;
was NATO intervention in Kosovo just, and what are the future implications that this mission hold in respect to international law?

NATO Mission in Kosovo

The objectives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the subject of the tension in Kosovo were explained in the declaration delivered during the very particular conference by the North Atlantic Council conducted at NATO were confirmed by different Heads of State and the Government in Washington. Consequently, the objectives of NATO regarding the conflict in Kosovo were concretely outlined. (The NATO Press Release 1999, Sc. 1-3) These were indicated in the Statement of the Chairman, Resolution 1244 (1999) Annex 1.

A succinct overview of The Washington Declaration takes account of NATO objectives which in summary suggests a confirmable discontinue of all military engagement and the abrupt eradication of violent behavior and subjugation; the pulling out from Kosovo of the armed forces, law enforcement, and assisting official military forces; the posting of international military presence in Kosovo; the unrestricted and safety of all refugees and displaced persons coming back and unconstrained access of humanitarian aid organizations to those individuals; and the formation of a political agenda arrangement for Kosovo based on the Rambouillet Accords (Beckert 1999, p.16), to conform with the international law and the Charter of the United Nations. (The NATO Press Release, 1999)

Distinctions between alliances and coalitions

This analysis endeavors to explore the details surrounding the legitimacy of NATO in the war indicated as the NATO mission in Kosovo. The focus of this paper is on current events, but it also delves on thehistory oftherelationshipconsideringtheoreticalapproachesand concepts. Current affairs of the Atlantic Community are embeddedintheir historicalevolution. They cannot be comprehensively elucidated without theoreticalconstructs.Therefore, in an endeavor to encompass all essential elements and raise law-oriented and theoretical notions, it is imperative to tackle the distinctions between alliances and coalitions in consideration of the NATO organization.

The attacks in 2001 that shocked the whole world were construed in a variety of ways by different nations as well as local and international organizations. Numerous states in the country had initiated their readiness to be included in responding to measures opposed to terrorism. The finishing off of the Cold War and the departure of a fired up antagonism has altered the strategies to security cohesion on the part of allied states. Furthermore, the unmatched standing of the United States as an excessively active force in the most indistinct implication has dealt American strategists with a predicament since conventional alliances may present both advantages and disadvantages.

Progressively more, the disadvantages have succeeded. In political terms, the possibilities of accomplishing harmony among the twenty-six member states of NATO have diminished. Harmony, at one time the high point of Alliance cohesion, has become now impossible and unnecessary. (Yost, 1998) Coalitions of the disposed can be generated from within a much unrestricting miscellany of states, and the uncertainty occurs if the Alliance is now turning out to be an instrument for the conveyance of a discriminatory European allegiance to an American inclusive order of a global scale.

According to Steinberg (2003, p. 115), NATO had referred to Article V, a combined defense specification. Other international organizations conveyed their pronouncement to partake within the collective endeavor to buoy up the movement against terrorism. Beginning in the year 2002, the initial operations of Romanian groups, for instance, to unite with the Coalition Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, has embodied an ultimate pace in the Eastern European countries to become affiliates of NATO.

Since that period, various countries of sorts have taken on a new structure of values in the course of their desire to form a junction with the association of democracy and freedom. The conflict’s feature has been changed fundamentally in recent years owing to the asymmetrical distinctiveness of defiance. In addition, from the standpoints of the new-fangled international challenges, the increasing emergent of international organizations and local measures, it is apparent that there is necessity of general principles, norm, and regulations for its class of organizations. (Steinberg 2003, p. 130)

NATO’s main role in nations it focuses on is to assist the existing government in putting into effect and broadening its influence and authority across the country, overlaying the means for renewal and operative governance. The organization accomplishes this predominately by way of its United Nations authorization for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). From the moment NATO had assumed command of ISAF in the year 2003, the Alliance has progressively stretched out the scope of its mission, formerly just limited to Kabul, to encompass Afghanistan’s entire territory. The number of ISAF groups has increased correspondingly from the preliminary five thousand to more or less eighty thousand troops which had come from forty-four nations that comprise all twenty-eight NATO members. (Hamilton, 2004)

The waning of NATO had been prognosticated a lot of times subsequent to the ending of the Cold War and with even more after the devastation aggravated by Iraq warfare seven years prior. The composers of NATO recordings are not in concurrence with regard to the causes of downfall which vary from unevenness of power to conflicting world views encompassing the Atlantic, but they have the same opinion with regard to NATO, at the same time still remains, is in effect demise. The decision makers of the Alliance had learned to distinguish and perform within the limits within which the Alliance is supposed to function if it is to carry on. This is noteworthy. During the latter part of the 1990s, political determination and reality had conflicted in Kosovo, bringing forth NATO’s most terrible post-Cold War catastrophe. Since the devastation, NATO had prepared for a Riga summit which continued with the investments completed since the Prague summit of Allied leaders concerning NATO’s conversion into a twenty-first century alliance. Indicated ambitions had aligned with reality and NATO had been supposed to be on the right track for revitalization. (Hursoy & Esrin, 2004)

In consideration of aligning aspiration with reality, the involvement in Kosovo in 1999 had demonstrated a number of symptoms of melancholy within the Alliance and it was in the response of the Allies to this move that it was found the reasons why NATO is directed for restitution. The involvement of NATO in Kosovo had progressed into an unpredictably long-drawn-out less significant air war, which caused the Allies to oppose NATO approach, the United States to assume that military operations had to be coursed beyond the cooperative entities of NATO, and European Allies to sustain the European Union’s new security and defense policy (ESDP). (Meyer 2004, pp. 90-91)

The intervention of NATO corresponded to the conclusion of nearly ten long years of political casual interest with the aspiration of unification in a range of pretexts that Europe has to be undivided and emancipated, the democratic community has to be broadened, NATO has to act as solitary, and NATO has to exemplify and through its actions characterize unanimous democratic and humanitarian principles. Furthermore, devoid of a tactical intimidation, these compulsions and objectives as expected led into the attempt to make NATO a united security organization for Europe. Kosovo was only this test occurrence of which NATO took action with no mandate from the United Nation and had laid assertion to legitimacy. (Mayer 2004, p. 93)

Subsequently, realities had then succeeded. The Allies had found not just that they were not prepared to actually wage war for these values, hence the nonexistence of a ground war, but also that principles are no replacement for politics and the welfare they engender; hence, the arguments within NATO. These occurrences had stimulated a transformation of movement in NATO. The arrangements for the 2002 Prague Summit and the renovation program that was reorganized in Riga correspond to an alliance of ambition with reality. (Croft 2002, p.98) The initial point is not the aspiration to take action united but the necessity to construct an Alliance that remains united but takes action flexibly in coalitions determined by interests and means.

There are by then positive signs of transformation. The NATO Response Force, reforming the new force structure concentrated on all set and organized forces; the sinewy of the command assembly and reserves prepared in itinerant headquarters below the rank of strategic authority; and the new political focal point on irregular intimidations that come from beyond the European constituency. They indicate that NATO imply seriousness of concern when it opts to make an matter its concern, and they guarantee that Allies who decide to lend a hand in certain missions will be able to accomplish it. NATO is a preferred alliance, which indicates that its renewal is bound to happen. It will come about when decision-makers make the appropriate choices as they have already done. (Jones, 2005, p. 15)

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

This analysis with regard to the NATO mission in Kosovo related to transatlantic relations focuses on current events and references with history to the relationship, to theoretical approaches and concepts. This will commence examination of documentary resources such as literature reviews, articles, theses, research projects, among others. In addition, the study will examine the data through surveys, observations and core personality interviews from where originally obtained. Collection of pertinent data from the various sources of statistical data, the number of deaths caused by the conflict, and number of families removed from their homes, and so on is explored. Overall, this analysis looks on various classes of data that are gathered and studies conducted to distinguish patterns and put together assumptions that might guide future action.

Coalitions and alliances are fundamental attributes of international security. (Papp, 1984) This analysis examines these directly associated observable facts by means of an amalgamation of conceptual frameworks to explore them and empirical research studies to demonstrate them. The examination commences with an exploration of the problematic distinctive issues that envelop the distinctions between ‘alliance’ and ‘coalition’, then outlines the major conceptual theoretical works pertinent to examining these phenomena, such as balance of power, intra-alliance politics, and multinational processes. Outfitted with these investigative tools, these concepts may be applied to this study of details surrounding the legitimacy of NATO in the war and the future implications that this mission hold in respect to international law.

Through the process of investigating various literatures and peer-reviewed articles, as well as current events in recent years will gain both a conceptual and practicable understanding of supposed The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report of 1994 initially purported the conception of ‘human security’. This is commonly known as “people-centered security or security with a human face.” (Thomas 2000, p. 6) Human security situates people instead of the states at the center of security matters. (Howorth, 2005) This framework delves on the aspects of human security which include freedom from desire; freedom from terror; and the freedom to settle with dignity. It regards the challenging nature of the conception and evaluates its importance for being aware of the development of the security discipline. Some literatures and resources delves particularly on human security concerns associated with terrorism, subjugation, warfare, humanitarian intervention, and the responsibility to safeguard doctrine, as well as the framework of international governance for progressing human security in terms of international laws. (Hursoy & Esrin, 2004)

Peacetime alliance behaviors and the standards of carrying out military operations when necessary in conjunction with allies seem to be the existing principles within provisions of international laws. This seminar paper will include an emphasis on NATO and the role of various countries as well as international organizations as alliance or coalition collaborators in historical and contemporary conflicts.

In addition, this seminar paper also takes into account the developing nature of security in the perspective of international politics. It centers on peer-reviewed articles about non-military challenges to security at the same time recognizing the associations between these and conventional security matters. Among the subject matter being deliberated in various literatures include international law and security; the privatization and economics related to security; energy resources; environmental problems; population dynamics; gender and age standpoints on security; the predicaments of frail and weakening states; transnational organized crime; and new methods of warfare. The general purpose of the study is to take account of issues and points of view that confront the way security is conventionally identified with.

It is imperative to identify the different elements that comprise the concept of human security being tackled in this study as future actions in terms of international laws on warfare are considered. The primary essential element is the likelihood of the general public to settle in harmony and security within their individual boundaries. This involves the facility of states and the people to thwart and get to the bottom of conflicts by means of diplomatic and non-violent processes and, when the discord is terminated, the capability to successfully implement reconciliation activities. The next element is that people must benefit from non-discriminatory implementation of rights and obligations which include human, political, social, economic, as well as cultural rights that being a citizen of a state implies. Another element is social inclusion or the idea of obtaining equated access to the political, social, and economic law-making processes, and to gain the same benefits from them. The next element is that of the institution of the rule of law and the autonomy of the justice system. (Ogata, 1998) Every member of a society must have equal rights and obligations and be under similar set of guidelines.

According to a statement delivered by Ogata (1998), these fundamental elements which are derived from the conception of equality of all before the law, in effect get rid of any threat of uncertainty which so repeatedly makes itself apparent in discrimination, exploitation, or subjugation.

Following these conflicts, a new-fangled understanding of the conception of security is developing. Once upon a time tantamount to the protection of territory from external onslaught, the necessities of security in the present day have come to take on the security of communities and persons from internal aggression. The necessity for a more human-centered outlook to security is strengthened by the enduring threats that armaments of mass destruction, subjugation, hostility, among others pose to humanity of which their very label discloses their capacity and their anticipated purpose if they were ever utilized.

Society has to open up its prospect of what is peace and security. Peace suggests much more than the nonexistence of war. Human security cannot be comprehended in absolutely military means. Preferably, it must include economic progress, social justice, environmental security, autonomy, reduction in arms, and valuing of human rights and laws.

Narrative of the Political/Policy Theme

Yugoslavia was formed mainly for defense purposes; however, as MacMillan (2001, 111-3) asserts, the Serbs had wanted more than what they had. They desired for Serbia to become the principal and governing force in Yugoslavia. Macedonia and Slovenia had not continued to get involved in the federation for the reason that Milosevic yearned to converge all his influence where he would gain collaboration and significant cooperation. Any location where there was an amply hefty Serbian inhabitants, whom he could supply with weapons to construct a Greater Serbia, he favors that, and in mind for Milosevic as Head of State. (Ignatieff 2001, p. 48)

Following the mass execution at Sarajevo and Srebrenica, the Dayton Accords were approved. This event had directed NATO to pay a visit to Milosevic as a gentleman they could transact with, since at Dayton, he so amiably dealt Sarajevo for the Muslims, deceiving the Serbs at Bosnia. Nonetheless, Milosevic intentionally left Kosovo and was not part of the contract. The harsh negotiation given by NATO had not been successful in taking the Bosnian war offenders answerable to what happened to Sarajevo and Srebrenica into custody. Hence, Milosevic expected it would keep on making dialogues which concern human rights and do not a thing about it. (Ignatieff 2001, pp. 50-51)

Almost half a decade of redundant intimidations appeared to substantiate ideas in people’s minds. NATO had looked disinclined engage in warfare for its principles. But NATO did. There have been casualties even before the intervention, and as it progressed and criticized by many, fatalities seemed to add up until its termination some years ago.

At the same time as the nuclear upsurge had been stalled during the 1970s and 1980s, and industrialized nations recognized that they required traditional weaponry, not strong ones which are useless, they had pursued a new kind of equipment. The ascent of moral as well as human rights discourse in terms of security had elevated the standards of artillery to reduce collateral damage and diminish or get rid of the risks to individuals and entities using them. These transformations had resulted to arsenal that would strike the targets with great precision, and cause not that much devastation within the sphere of the target’s surroundings. (Ignatieff 2001, p. 163)

Interested parties had continued this endeavor by creating a number of technological innovations. Lasers had enhanced precision targeting; computer gadgets had started to make use of satellites to hit targets with accuracy; propulsion systems had improved the reach of missiles and bombs were prepared to be less harmful to people. This indicated that both the person making the target as well as the onlookers who are often civilians were more secured; and automated drones to make close watch activities safe for those who flew the planes. (Ignatieff 2001, p. 166)

Precision weaponry comprised only eight percent of the explosives that were used in Iraq; and so far, some new missile types could do greater feats far from what were previously created. The regulated threatening features, the dangers it got rid of in support of the major players and the crucial repercussions for the adversaries have improved weaponry. (Ignatieff 2001, p. 167) The opponents had a good idea that if the Americans utilized such equipment and expertise, which was far more advanced than majority of the other weaponry in the world, it would need the same technology, which most nations do not have the capacity to obtain, to thrash them out during battle.

Responsibility to Protect refers to a manuscript issued by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. (Commission, 2001) This specifies the rights as well as responsibilities of states in terms of interventions to stop huge numbers of fatalities. (Commission 2001, XII) It specifies four protective doctrines that intervening authorities have to wear out prior to procuring military combat.

On the basis of the Responsibility to Protect, any relevant personality should have arbitrated to halt the combating. They had used up tactful means like peace talk actions, trade prohibitions, premeditated separation of Serbs and Albanians (Ignatieff 2001, pp. 25, 32-4), but all these to no purpose. Evidently, Milosevic was not settling. He was anticipating that, either of two things. That NATO would not continue on its intimidations or that, if the organization did, he may breach the Alliance and the support of the Western public for the involvement before it attained its objectives. (Ignatieff 2001, pp. 48, 59-66)

Kosovo is situated in southern Serbia comprised mostly of ethnic Albanians. It was an autonomous state within the former Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milosevic, the head of Serbia had changed its status in 1989 by eradicating autonomy and had since then been under the control of the Serbian capital, Belgrade. There was a strong opposition expressed by the Kosovar Albanians. Almost ten years after, there have been deaths for around one thousand five hundred Kosovar Albanians and four hundred thousand people forced out of their own residences. (Walker, 2000) The world became grimly concerned regarding the rising conflict, the turnout of deaths, and the danger of it opening out to other nations. Apparently, President Milosevic’s discount for political interventions intended to peacefully put an end to the problem and the threatening role of the radical Kosovar Albanian forces was also problematical.

This resulted to an excessive use of force brought by the Serbian security forces as well as the Yugoslav defending forces. The United Nations Security Council Resolution had turned out to be majorly instrumental but grave situations soon escalated which necessitated renewed international interventions. NATO, as reported had endeavored to make a possible transport of than 4666 tons of food and water supplies, 4325 tons of other provisions, 2624 tons of tents and almost 1600 tons of medical supplies had been brought to the region. It is approximated that 1.5 million citizens or ninety percent of Kosovo population, had been removed from their homes. Some 225,000 Kosovar individuals were reported missing. And there were at the least some five thousand Kosovars who had been executed all through these events. (Walker, 2000)


In the area under discussion with regard to alliances and coalitions that may have influenced NATO’s action towards the case of Kosovo, as a critic, may point out coalitions may undercut the Alliance for the reason that in the lack of common or collective risks, alliances appear spaced out. This is purportedly what had occurred in the Iraq War seven years prior. The United States had taken up its contentious course of action in the mission have got to establish the coalition to the situation where NATO virtually relinquished on its treaty obligation. (Jones, 2005)

In particular, at the time Turkey in the early part of 2003 had asked for security conferences, which by the way is a natural right by law as stipulated in Article 4. It was these nations, particularly France, Belgium, and Germany which felt a forthcoming American undertaking that followed this appeal to unfasten deadlocked international relations and acquire international reinforcement using NATO’s treaty obligations. These allies as a result had opposed NATO discussions in order not to influence UN Security Council negotiations. It had taken discreet resourcefulness to arrive at a concession in those impassioned days. (Jones 2005, p. 17)

From the various writings of different personalities with regard to the issue, it is apparent that the means to integrating the Alliance with coalition formation dwells in a continuous strategic discourse delving on all germane issues, in the nonexistence of any simulated constraint. Such a discussion will function to shed light on premeditated matters of interest and put decision-making in order. It will conspicuously rally round the Allies to negotiate among themselves where the Allies may stand prepared to arise a coalition that fulfills their supposed interests will contract to acquire the reinforcement of NATO entirely. This is because they know that eventually they will have need for it. The other Allies will have to negotiate for the reason that it will present them with a chance to structure the coalition without having to take part in it. To cut a long story short, NATO as an alliance can make it possible for coalitions by expounding tactical interests and by presenting a venue for negotiations.

NATO’s so-called “peace talk’ actions commenced in Raombouillet, France. In Western media, the Rambouillet Agreement was posted and reported as it was written and no further explanation, probably due to limited investigation. However, Drozdiak (1999) reports the following: “The principal stumbling block to achieving an agreement at the 12-day-old Kosovo peace talks outside Paris remains the opposition of the Serb-led Belgrade government to accepting a NATO-led force…. senior Western officials said…. that if Belgrade’s intransigence thwarts an agreement, it is almost a certainty that NATO airstrikes would begin by early next.” (Drozdiak 1999, p. A01)

In this report, the usage of the words “peacekeeping force” (Drozdiak 1999, p. A01) presents the Belgrade administration as unreasonably stubborn and intractable. Definitely, no personality would want to engage in fighting. Peace is always upheld to maintain harmonization and continuity of daily acts of living. In this line of thought, if NATO had the opinion that it had no other alternative but to pronounce a war, the unyieldingness of Belgrade would be held accountable.

There have been assumptions that the Racac supposed massacre accusations were actually clandestinely planned by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and had pointed finger towards the Serbs which was held accountable. The supposed people behind this were those same individuals who demanded the Milosevic affix his signature to the agreement. Apparently, the information indicated in the Rambouillet Agreement, which Milosevic was being directed to put his signature on at gun point, were not once mentioned in the Western media. Actually, the details of the agreement were not even interpreted, just posted. (Drozdiak 1999, p. A01) This is not acceptable in terms of unbiased reporting and transparency. In order to understand the actions performed and decisions made by the Yugoslavs, it must be informed in detail, especially if it is an international crisis that may impact other nations in the future in terms of conflicts and repression.

The stipulations of the Rambouillet Agreement successfully segregated the region of Kosovo from the Republic of Serbia. This had left the radical members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and had become the regional power. This occurrence was enough reason by itself for any nation not to authorize. No country would care for to sign, under coercion or threat a document arranged by an external authority or foreign power, much less terrorists and intended to take away a portion of the country and particularly the very region considered the structure of the people’s culture.

This was not the only evident situation that hinders the authorization many years ago. Some excerpts of the NATO “peacekeeping force” from the Rambouillet Agreement appear to indicate making NATO as the position of most eminent authority in Yugoslavia. They were insisting to authorize stipulations resembling the terms required by the assaulting Nazis during the Second World War.

Sign or we will bomb you,” (Boustany 1999, p. A18) were the supposed words that came from NATO directed to Milosevic. For the reason that the document was aimed like so that it was out of the question to sign, NATO was evidently pronouncing war. In addition, Foreign Minister Vollebaek, Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has thorough knowledge and good understanding of the agreement. “The pressure is mounting…’ Knut Vollebaek …said yesterday about concerted efforts to subdue Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic into accepting a peace process for Kosovo under threat of a NATO military strike.” (Boustany 1999, p. A18) From this article, it would appear that things were being embellished with a bit of truthfulness. However, this does not make things better. The Rambouillet Agreement was conjured up to be a pronouncement of imminent war, but the mainstream media presented it as a peace talk process.

The core personalities behind this comprise Vollebaek as the principal figure in the effort to overcome Milosevic to authorize the supposed “peace process” being initiated by NATO. Vollebaek and his cohorts asserted that Albanian factions or secessionists including the national groups within Kosovo are nearing to sign the agreement. That is far from the truth. Although some people does not share this sentiment, this had been pervading the thoughts of a lot of people, particularly at the time the situation had been known overseas and had become a major concern of international organizations.

From these reports that came from the Washington Post and other media sources, it had appeared as though the media reportage of the nation’s discord was undeserved and overlooked or to some extent had obscured a lot of significant portions that had taken place during the crisis. The propaganda and blatant abuse of basic rights by the Milosevic administration is well-known and in the main acquiesced. Nonetheless, the majority of the media reports

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